ST. LOUIS – This week is Work Zone Awareness Week, and the Missouri Department of Transportation is asking drivers to “Work With Us” as they travel through work zones in the greater St. Louis area and in Missouri and Illinois.
The week is a nation-wide reminder of the potential dangers of driving through work zones. Although traffic levels were lighter through the past year, they are starting to return to normal levels. Spring is the start of construction, where state and local agencies start the major projects needed to maintain the existing roadways and bridges to ensure that the system remains safe and operational.
Every year, MoDOT has an event where they and their partners in Illinois and Missouri share information about work zones. This year, due to the pandemic, that information is available in the video above.
“Although traffic levels have been down over the past year due to the pandemic, we are seeing a significant increase in the speeds people are traveling and seeing a large number of crashes, MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer Tom Blair said. “We have some major construction projects in the region – including the biggest project in the state, the I-270 North project, and continued work along I-44 and I-55. More importantly, we have maintenance teams out repairing potholes, picking up trash and many other tasks to keep our roads safe for travel.
“These operations move slowly along a roadway – even though there are signs warning of work ahead and arrows board on the vehicles, drivers can come upon them quickly if they are not paying attention. We ask that drivers work with us and do their part to make Missouri roads safer.
“Please slow down and pay attention when you see our crews out there; move over if you can to give a little extra room, buckle up and put down cellphones and other distractions,” Blair added.
Last year, in the St. Louis region, drivers struck 29 MoDOT vehicles, with employees in them – almost two thirds of the vehicles struck within the state last year and nearly twice the average of vehicles struck in the St Louis region over the past five years. All of those crashes have been into vehicles driven by MoDOT employees to help protect road workers by catching and stopping vehicles that may be heading into a work zone. Most of those crashes were due to drivers who were not paying attention or were driving too fast.
Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes, if safe to do so, when approaching MoDOT vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and any other emergency vehicle with lights flashing. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, they must slow down as they pass the emergency vehicles.
Across the state, 27 Missourians died in crashes in work zones in 2020.
MoDOT projects expected to have the biggest driving affect (listed here by location, not potential impact) in and around the St. Louis region this year are:
- St. Louis city, I-44 bridge improvements at Jefferson Avenue
- St. Louis County, I-44 bridge replacement at the Meramec River
- Franklin County, I-44 St. Louis County Line to Route 30 and Loop 44 from St. Louis County to Route 100 – pavement improvements
- St. Louis County, I-55 – pavement repairs between Lindbergh Boulevard and the city of St. Louis limits
- St. Louis city, I-64 interchange improvements at Jeﬀerson and 22nd Street
- St. Charles County, I-70 bridge renovation at Route 370
- St. Louis County, I-270 North – various bridge and roadway improvements between I-70 and the Chain of Rocks bridge
- St. Louis County, I-270 bridge repair over I-44
- St. Charles County, Route 67 – Elevation of southbound Route 67 lanes for one mile south of the Clark Bridge.
- St. Louis County, Route 100 (Manchester Road) between Big Bend and Lindbergh – update signals, drainage and sidewalks
- St. Louis County, Route 340 – road widening between Spoede Road and Old Olive for left turn lanes
- St. Louis County, Route 364 – Renovation of overpasses from Seven Pines Drive to Bennington Place
- St. Louis County, Route 370 – Pavement and guardrail repairs from I-270 to 5th Street
- Jefferson County, Route A from Collins Road to Old Route 21 – resurfacing, guardrail upgrades and intersection improvements at Harrison Lake, Burning Tree, Pebble Creek and Morgan Road
- Franklin County, Route D (S. Service Road) from Route WW to W Springfield Road- Resurfacing, guardrail and ADA upgrades
- Jefferson County, Route H from Route 21 to the Washington County line – resurfacing, guardrail upgrades, culvert replacements and adding shoulders
- Franklin County, Route AH over I-44 – repair damaged bridge
- Franklin County, Route AJ from Route YY to Route 50 – resurfacing